Bright Future for Oakland Mills’ Young Field Hockey Team

It has been a rough past couple of years for the Oakland Mills Field Hockey team. Due to a lack of interest in the program, the team has struggled to score goals, let alone win a game. While the OMHS field hockey team finished 1-11, there were many glimmers of hope throughout the season.

Led by captains Erin Oliver, Katie Oliver, and Abigail Reed, the OMHS field hockey team finished 12th in the county scoring only four goals throughout the season. Coaches Christina Devine and Wyatt Neely took over for the 2021 fall season after Coach Kristen Vance stepped down. With both young coaches and players at the forefront of this team, there were obviously some hurdles this team had to jump through.

Coaches Christina Devine and Wyatt Neely giving the team a pep talk

OMHS is not known for their field hockey team but with promising talent passing through the program, along with the redistricting, it seems like this team can quickly change that narrative. This program’s addition of new head coaches and players eager to lead like upcoming seniors, Saige Soskil and Francessca Martin, can help this team stick out in Howard county.

On October 4th, Oakland Mills hosted Long Reach High School for their senior night, recognizing seniors Erin Oliver, Katie Oliver, Sarah Petit, and Riley O’Brien. After a late start due to bus complications, the game began. Almost sending the game into overtime, LRHS scored with little to no time left in the second half squeaking out a 2-1 victory. Despite the heartbreaking loss, this game showed to the Oakland Mills players that effort and passion go a long way.

Two weeks later on October 18th this effort and passion paid off as Oakland Mills got their first win against Lansdowne High School, outscoring them 3-2. Goals from Daniella Cifuentes, Erin Gunther, and Emily Vaughn along with strong performances from the other 6 girls helped the OMHS field hockey team get their first win.

Twins Katie and Erin Oliver have been playing field hockey for 3 and 4 years respectively. Katie has played goalie while Erin played defense but switched to midfield her senior year. Erin believes that although the team is small, it is recruiting more and more new people each year. Her first year playing field hockey was her freshman year, and the progress she made goes to show how hard work can pay off. When Erin was asked about the win over Lansdowne, she responded, “I’m really proud of the girls, a lot of them haven’t experienced a field hockey win, seeing as we didn’t win at all last year, playing all in county schools. They’ve improved a lot over the season and I don’t have any doubt that they will do great next year.” 

Erin also mentions how the new coaching style helps push the players to be better both on the field and off. “…this year’s coaching style is really different from what I have seen in the past… Coach Devine and Coach Neely focus more on teaching and actively try to get us to push ourselves to be better…I’ve learned a lot this year and I think that some of the teams we played were caught off guard by our skill level.”

This program’s addition of new head coaches and upcoming seniors can help this team stick out in Howard county. Junior Abigail Reed has lots of hope for this team’s future saying “I feel as though we have a strong growing team of new players. We have lots of girls who are playing for the first time who have made a ton of progress in just this season alone. Also since we have a new coach, I really feel as though this team can grow and become stronger than years prior.”

One of the biggest reasons this team is being held back is the lack of interest from students. If you are interested in playing fall sports try out for the field hockey team! It’s a great opportunity to make friends and connect with other people in your school. 

Although it has been a rough past couple of seasons for the OMHS Field Hockey teams, there is hope and promise in years to come.

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